Ruby was my adopted aunt. Her relation to me was purely circumstantial. My 96 yr. old father is a Holocaust survivor from Germany whose parents put him on a train at the age of 13, knowing that they would never see him again. He was bound for any country that would take him in. He arrived finally in the U.S. with no family (all were killed during the Holocaust), no money and no English. He and some 6 or 7 other kids were taken in by a divorced mother of 2 with little means. That woman was Ruby's mother.
Ruby and her brother, David, were extraordinary people. David died last year at 97, Ruby passed away on May 9, 2019 at the age of 103. I was by her side when she died. She was smart, funny, opinionated, well-read, well-traveled and spunky until the day she died. After high school graduation she moved to New York City where she worked for the Joint Distribution Committee. At the end of World War II she donned khakis and served as a caseworker in a Displaced Persons camp near Vienna helping Holocaust survivors resettle, where she met her husband to be. She lived in Baltimore, MD, Philadelphia, PA, Youngstown, OH, Miami, FL and Nashville, TN , Cocoa Beach, FL until finally moving to Atlanta at the age of 85. Her love of animals brought her to volunteer at zoos wherever she lived. Ruby was an avid bridge player and loved watching derbies and dog shows on TV. Following the death of her husband she traveled the world (always on cruises). She was a true Southern Belle but with a worldliness that could compete with any European. She was ageless and standing tall at 4'10" she held a room in the palm of her hand. We called her the Queen Mother.
Going through her belongings after her death, I found so many interesting items that the ideas just started flowing. She had saved all of her passports from the age of 18, keys that went to foot lockers and old houses and safes, boxes of old buttons from business suits and bathing suits and dresses, voter registration cards and a scarf she picked up in Burma. These were the textures of her long, long life and together tell her remarkable story.